News A referendum will be held by the end of 2017 if the Conservatives win the next election

Sir Nicholas Macpherson is accused of trying to scare the public into a Yes vote in an EU referendum

BA challenged over transatlantic alliance plan

British Airways faces a battle to go ahead with its planned alliance on transatlantic routes with giant US carrier American Airlines (AA), it was revealed today.

Hitch delays new BA luxury transatlantic service

British Airways suffered an embarrassing hitch to its new luxury transatlantic service today.

True Murder, By Yaba Badoe

"Even now, after all these years, I can hardly bear to look in a mirror," is the opening line of this dark, atmospheric, densely patterned novel. Ghanaian pre-teenager Ajuba is sent to boarding school in Devon. A lonely, confused child, she befriends the charismatic Polly Venus, who talks entirely in transatlantic clichés ("Hallo?", "That totally sucks!", "You just don't get it, do you?"). Exploring the attic of Polly's house they find a bundle of what they take to be kitten bones. But they're not. They are the bones of babies.

The Bagel, By Maria Balinska

The famous story of the Polish defeat of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 being celebrated by the croissant is now thought to be apocryphal. Another baked commemoration of this event is possibly more credible – rolls in the shape of turbans and stirrups ("beugels" in German). Certainly the bagel became a staple of Yiddish communities in Poland.

DVD: Lie To Me (15)

Following Hugh Laurie's transatlantic success in House, British actors are enjoying a departure from their traditional role as sneering malcontent or hapless sidekick.

The feral beast: Barber says 'bye-bye'

Another blow for The Observer. Lynn Barber is jumping ship. The legendary interviewer, whose autobiography, An Education, has been adapted into a film by Nick Hornby due out next month, is said to be quitting The Observer in its darkest hour and decamping to the warm bosom of The Sunday Times.

Adrian Hamilton: Two-party politics is doing us no good

On the big questions the Tories and Labour seem determined to avoid any debate at all

Government downgrades terrorist threat level

The UK terrorist threat level has been downgraded from "severe" to "substantial", Home Secretary Alan Johnson said today.

Observations: Islington plays host to Europe's first 'Literary Death Match'

Marlowe aside, writers are probably the last people you'd expect to find in a bar brawl. But next Tuesday, the Old Queen's Head in Islington, north London will be the venue for Europe's first "Literary Death Match". Courtesy of Opium, an American literary magazine, the death match has become a feature of the cultural calendar in cities across the US, featuring such esteemed participants as Tom Perrotta (author of Little Children and Election), Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and Moby (the musician, not the whale).

Caffari and co beat British Isles record

The all-woman crew of Dee Caffari, Samantha Davies, Miranda Merron and Alex Sizer yesterday knocked over 17 hours off the record for sailing non-stop round the British Isles, setting a new time of six days 11hrs 30min 53sec in the Caffari’s Open 60, Aviva.

Leading article: Still semi-detached from Europe

The chickens of Gordon Brown's G20 summit in London came home to roost yesterday in Brussels at an EU summit in which Britain once again appeared embattled and bereft of ideas. In London in April the Prime Minister staked his claim as a leader of the western world in its fight against the recession on a close alliance with the United States and a demand for reflation – which most of Europe rejected.

Transatlantic pilot dies mid-flight

Co-pilots were forced to take over the controls and land a transatlantic passenger jet in the US today after the captain died mid-flight.

Telefonica dominate Volvo Ocean Race

A first and a third for Bouwe Bekking in Telefonica Blue reinforced Spain’s growing dominance of the inshore stages of the Volvo race yesterday as sistership Telefonica Black scored a second and a fourth.

EU competition probe could hit BA's American dream

Multiple anti-trust investigations question transatlantic agreements
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk